When someone dresses their dog up in clothing, it always seems like it's verging on animal cruelty.  But it turns out that an extra layer DOES help some dogs stay warm.  And it's something veterinarians suggest all the time.

--Here's why:  The normal body temperature for a dog is between 101 and 102 degrees.  That means in cold weather, they start feeling cold before we do.

 --And if their temperature drops five or six degrees, it lowers their blood pressure, and puts them at risk for kidney damage and hypothermia.

 --But obviously not ALL dogs need to wear a sweater.  Big dogs like Labradors and German shepherds are fine in the cold, as long as they're active and have a healthy diet.

 --The dogs that DO benefit from extra layers are short-haired breeds and small lap dogs like Chihuahuas and terriers, because they have a harder time retaining body heat.

 --And an extra layer is good for old or sick dogs too, because it helps their bodies stay warm without wasting so much energy.

 --Waterproof coats, sweaters and boots are all good.  But don't buy your dog a hat.  Apparently hats just make dogs miserable, and can throw off their equilibrium.